Just the Way You Are
Max Lucado and Sergio Martinez
Good news! I’ve found another book by Max Lucado (in addition to You Are Special) that I think is well worth reading, especially during the present season of Lent.
Just the Way You Are is the tale of five orphans who find out that the king wants to adopt them. The older brothers and sisters think that it’s their job to make themselves worthy of the king’s love, so they busy themselves with self-improvement strategies while they wait for him to show up. The younger sister doesn’t seem to have any of the natural talent that her siblings do, and she’s left to wait on her own. When the king arrives… Well, I won’t spoil the ending for you, but I will say that this quote by Tim Keller captures the heart of the book:
The gospel does not say, “the good are in and the bad are out,” nor “the open-minded are in and the judgmental are out.” The gospel says the humble are in and the proud are out. The gospel says the people who know they’re not better, not more open-minded, not more moral than anyone else, are in, and the people who think they’re on the right side of the divide are most in danger.
I’d call this book a Lenten story in the sense that it’s about recognizing that we don’t come to God with anything to offer him. His acceptance of us as sons and daughters is a magnificent gift and all we can do is gratefully and humbly receive it. He is happy to welcome us into his everlasting family as long as we’re not “too busy” thinking up ways to impress him. All we can truly offer in response to his offer of adoption is our adoration, a lifetime of devotion flowing from a humble heart.
Just the Way You Are doesn’t fully portray the message of the gospel because it doesn’t introduce the topic of sin and the need for repentance, but I still think it’s worth reading with our children. The illustrations by Sergio Martinez are great, and it’s a well written and story with a theme worth keeping at the forefront of our minds.